Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi’s wise decision to avoid over-the-top banqueting arrangements at the G8 summit has been welcomed by summiteers in L’Aquila but the menus have not gone down well with everyone.

Sarah Brown, wife of the British prime minister, complains today that she is tiring of being presented with veal, a meat she refuses to eat on ethical grounds because of allegedly cruel production methods.

Writing on Twitter, she said: “Am hoping that no veal served at lunch again
today – have declined it twice this trip as just feel very strongly about it.”

But it hasn’t been all terrible for Mrs Brown. On Thursday she hooked up with George Clooney for a tour of the earthquake damage in L’Aquila.

Silvio Berlusconi was beaming by the  end of the day, clearly relieved  that the summit was going well and that world leaders had greeted him as an old friend. Gordon Brown even gave him a hug.

“This day has been payback for all the bitterness I have been through,” the prime minister said, cited by Agi news agency, referring to the “absurd attacks” on him in the media over his controversial private life of parties attended by call girls. “These days encourage me to go on,” he added.

“I am proud to have accomplished almost a miracle,” he was quoted as saying by Apicom.

Rumours were rife among Italian reporters that Mr Berlusconi would not deliver the press conference he had committed to because he was afraid of more questioning about his private life from the foreign media contingent. Aides suggested he might be too busy.

But in the end he spoke to a packed audience, delivering a resounding  speech on the accomplishments of the day. Finishing with a flourish, he looked down and said “Questions?” and before anyone could even mutter the world “scandal”, he thanked everyone and walked off.

Newsblog



Follow the news with reports from the FT's newsrooms and correspondents across the globe.
Track on twitter

About the authors

Leyla Boulton is an editor on the FT's main newsdesk
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson is the FT's media editor
Robin Harding is an FT correspondent in Tokyo
George Parker is the FT's political editor
Sean Smith is an editor on the FT's international companies desk

FT blogs